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Globe may become hotter: Climatologists made shocking forecast for 2024

Globe may become hotter: Climatologists made shocking forecast for 2024 Climate scientists have made a new forecast for 2024 (RBC-Ukraine collage)

The year of global warming has ended, and a record-high average annual temperature has already been recorded. But now, some scientists suggest that 2024 could become an even hotter year, according to The Washington Post.

2024 will be hotter

Most of 2023 saw vast expanses of the Earth's oceans being recorded warm, and it will take months to release this warmth. An intense episode of the El Niño climate phenomenon, causing global warming, is approaching its peak, and the last time it led to record warmth on the planet was in 2016.

This suggests there won't be an inevitable slowdown in the surge of global warming, which would reinforce the multi-year trend associated with fossil fuel emissions.

According to the UK Meteorological Office, this may be enough to raise the average global temperature by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial level of the 19th century for the first time in a year.

In recent months, the planet has come closer than ever to this alarming threshold, providing the first glimpse of a world where sustained warmth contributes to new extreme weather events.

However, such climate trends are challenging to predict accurately. After all, at the beginning of 2023, scientists predicted that the year would end as one of the warmest in the planet's history. They did not expect it to set many new precedents - with a record magnitude.

According to the director of the EU Climate Change Service, Carlo Buontempo, we are in uncharted territory and don't know what will happen next.

What is El Niño

El Niño raises global temperatures by several tenths of a degree Celsius, a decent jump for averaged global statistics. This is because the sea surface temperature in the central and eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean is higher than average, and these waters release heat and moisture into the atmosphere.

El Niño usually lasts a year or less, reaching its peak in winter and then disappearing in spring. Although scientists argue that there are no identical El Niño events, each brings some predictability to global climate models, like other planetary phenomena.

The current El Niño, which began in June, is considered vital and could reach its peak as a historically powerful episode in the coming weeks or months. It could rival the strong El Niño that began in early 2015, peaked in December of the same year, and subsided by June 2016, leading to 2016 being a record global warming year.

If the trend persists this time, the record warming that has persisted for the last six months will rise even higher in the first half of 2024.

Why temperatures will rise

One reason the El Niño warming effect tends to increase in recent months is related to its impact on global weather.

The abnormal warmth of the sea surface and storms from El Niño to the central and eastern Pacific Ocean create a domino effect leading to drought in other parts of the world, including Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and South Africa.

"That sets the stage for higher than normal temperatures over land, the peak of which may reach February. I expect this to be the case at least for the first 6 months of 2024," said Kevin Trenberth, a National Center for Atmospheric Research climate scientist.

Whether this warming influence will dominate throughout 2024 depends on what happens after the current El Niño subsides. It will likely happen by June, returning the Pacific Ocean to what climate scientists call neutral conditions - the absence of El Niño or its counterpart, La Niña.

In addition, it is unclear whether neutral conditions will persist or La Niña, known for its global cooling, will develop. El Niño may even return.

Scientists continue observing

There is still no clear indication of what may lie ahead. Although El Niño has, in a sense, developed according to scientists' understanding of this phenomenon, in other respects, it has been difficult to classify. According to Trenberth, some changes in patterns that climate scientists typically expect to see with the weakening of El Niño have not yet occurred.

"There are some aspects of what is going on that remain puzzling," Trenberth said. "Climate change means all past analogs are not so reliable," emphasized Trenberth.

Climate change caused by human activity has indeed dominated global trends: observations. The last eight years have been the eight warmest on record. This streak will stretch for a decade in 2023, which is likely to record warm, and in 2024, which may be even hotter.

Regardless of climate changes this year, El Niño warmth in the Pacific Ocean will continue to influence global temperatures and weather conditions strongly, said Andrew Kruczkiewicz, a senior research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University.

"It takes time for that energy to dissipate," he said. "There's persistence in the climate system," he said.

Earlier, we wrote that humanity is on the verge of five climate catastrophes.